By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Here's another reason why I think we might be able to get through the year without seeing any hockey at all: In order for the NHL to have a season this year, the league and the NHLPA have to reach an agreement pretty soon. The 103-day lockout of 1994-'95 was resolved by January 11, giving the NHL enough time to string together a 48-game season and playoffs. If we can just hold out a little while longer, they'll be past their drop-dead date and we'll all get a reprieve. (Mercifully, they've already canceled the annual All-Star exhibition.)
"It looks like they're going to need to have something in place in the next week or two," one NHL writer, now enjoying quasi-vacation, told me. "After that, I'm just not sure they'll have enough time to string together an abbreviated season and then the playoffs. I'm not optimistic, though."
Neither are the players. Some 750 NHLers have already signed deals with European or minor league teams. Stars goalie Marty Turco was one of them; he agreed to terms with a Swedish outfit on a month-to-month basis. Turco has the right idea; I hear the bikini team over there is outstanding.
Admittedly, there are things I'll miss about the NHL and the Stars if they never come back--the players are generally nice, and I love the rumors about which hot female celebrity Mike Modano is "entertaining." But on the whole I think it will be better for all of us if the NHL just fades away. Imagine it: a world where the highlights are dominated by dunks and touchdowns, where home runs rule and nobody cares (or even remembers) about icing. Unless it comes on a cake. It's easy to dislike hockey, but who doesn't like cake?
I mean, really, that's just crazy talk--not liking cake.